Well if this is not the perfect time to face the lowly Oilers, I do not know what is. Coming off of 9, yes 9, consecutive losses, the Flames look to ‘bump the slump’ against the worst team in the NHL on Saturday night. The only solace Flames fans have these days is the fact that the Oilers have lost more in a row (12) and occupy the very bottom of the NHL standings (Ouch). That being said at least the Oilers are due for a top pick in this years upcoming NHL Entry draft, whereas if the Flames continue to slump they have no such guarantee( The Flames traded their Number one pick in the Jokinen deal last year). Good news is that the Flames have feasted on the Oilers this year, winning all five match-ups thus far. They have outscored them 19-10 in those games. Large in part to the play of the powerplay(That must be a typo). The Flames have gone 6-18 with the man-advantage against the Oilers and should hope that another meeting rekindles that lost magic touch.
The Flames have issues, which are painstakingly evident. It’s the solution that the Flames must focus their attention on.
Well the saviour is here! Or maybe it just seems that way as Mikael Backlund, the Flames 07’ first rounder, is going to be centering the top line with Captain Jarome Iginla. Coming off his first career goal in the desert on Thursday night, Backlund will look to help ignite Iginla and the Flames into a prolonged ‘non losing’ skid. When drafted in 2007, Backlund was thought of to be ‘that guy’ who could solve the Flames number 1 center problems. Well, whether this is too soon or not, Flames fans will get a close up look at what the young Swede can do. I for one am quite happy with the move, as every other first line combination either gets kyboshed by the coach(Langkow-Glencross-Iginla) or worked 8 years ago(Conroy-Iginla) or will never work(Jokinen-Iginla-Any Player). Backlund provides a much needed boost of enthusiasm and energy as he is eager to prove to the world that he is an NHL calibre player.
When trying to be optimistic about Saturday night’s game you need not look further than Flames record on Saturday nights which is a very modest 9-2. Coincidentally their last win came on a Saturday night against the Canucks in early January. Also, if the Flames somehow beat the Oilers they will have captured points in 3 straight games, something they haven’t done for almost three and half weeks.
A warning to the Flames though: If you do not win tomorrow night, prepare for the biggest chorus of boos and hisses you have ever heard. Losing 9 straight is one thing, but losing to your provincial rival in your own building, who have lost 12 straight themselves, will not be acceptable.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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